Monday, July 11, 2011

A Valley Named After the Grass

a month later in a year earlier, 2010

Chicago is not the Windy City, it is San Francisco. So we escaped to a valley named after the grass, where the temperature reached up into the 90s, and the heat was absorbed by the pavement. A parade marched down Main Street. I wore a wide brimmed hat and slipped into my new bathing suit. The inn had a tiny pool. I darted back and forth like a goldfish while he watched from a towel covered chair. The days were long and lazy. One afternoon I woke as a child, hungry, and hearing my mother's voice in the kitchen. Something about the air was just as it was back then. Taste and smell are easy, but traveling through time based on the feel of the air is less common, and more luxurious. The cool sheets were familiar too, the way they felt on my hot skin. The ceiling fan was new, but felt old. Half asleep I wondered what she was making for dinner. I woke up alone in the room, turned onto my back, and watched the fan above slowly rotate. A dog barked in the distance and I heard a faint song from a bird who sounded small. A colander of cherries drifted through my mind. Still groggy, I thought of the sequence of our lives, the way it all unfolds. Something to add to my collection.


  1. There is something about afternoon naps that leaves one feeling vulnerable and small. I'm intrigued by the idea of triggering a memory based on the feel of air against skin, and since I'm leaving on a trip in a week, I'll give it a try.

  2. can i hug this post now, and go to sleep. way to go, woman!

  3. My brain was trigger-happy after reading this post.

  4. Rachael, I hope it feels good.

    n, So nice. Thank you.

    Tracy, Exciting. I hope it leads to a productive afternoon.

  5. A new version of the old, the flashes of the past in the present. This moment was so well told I felt like I was experiencing it myself...

  6. wow, you definitely have a way with words! and i must agree about san francisco being the windy city: ever since i visited sf for the first time a few months ago, i think that exact thought about IT being the windy city instead! my fiancé actually lives there now, and i'll be moving out in a few months :)

  7. I'm still smiling about a colander of cherries.

    Now I want to go and take a nap. Or have a swim.

    Maybe I'll go reread this instead:)

    xo Jane

  8. Since moving further north on the island, closer to where we spent summers camping when I was young, I have many more of these moments. Late August, with the damp mornings and hot, dry afternoons, can transport me almost every time.

    I am a very poor napper, the thought pleases me but the actuality evades me.

  9. Exquisite. The way you described the weekend, I can see, playing like a movie in my head. Vivid.
    ...And its foggy and cloudy here already. In my head, I think of San Francisco as the foggy city.

  10. Beautiful. Love the title of the picture.

  11. Sometimes, when I read your posts I seem to can't find the words to tell you how much I enjoy them.

    Can I write it in Greek? It comes easier... :)


  12. I love memories that come back to you because of a smell, sound, or warmth. Your daydream of a colander full of cherries sounds delightful. Beautiful Post.

  13. Nice story, beautiful words.
    Very alive (your words), a story we can touch.
    With air and colander !-)

  14. Bonjour! i just found out your blog, via "little postcards", and... it feels like a delicious and secret place i'm rejoicing over from now on. I'm supposed to sleep right now, but i'm going to come back, again and again... Very happy to "meet" you, looking forward to coming back*

  15. Janis, Thank you so much. I enjoyed the experience and the recollection.

    andrea, Sometimes the cool summers feel a bit sad, but Septembers are usually lovely.

    Jane, I hope you will be swimming and then napping today.

    kate, Your description of late August summers reminds me of the weather during some of our Michigan camping trips. Maybe a nice dull book will help you take a nap.

    Joyti, And yesterday was so foggy. Thankfully I'm seeing a little sun this morning, but just a little.

    carina, You noticed! Thank you.

    Magda, I want you to be happy, so write in Greek. Why not. I'll do what I can with Google Translate.

    Nicolette, Me too. It was nice. Making the new memory was sweet as well.

    Pascale, And I know you appreciate colanders.

    Maria, Thank you.

    Juliette, Thank you and welcome.

  16. oh oui !!!
    last time i visited San Francisco was the foggy city ! but no matter what a part of my heart is stuck somewhere there....

  17. Yes! "Taste and smell are easy, but traveling through time based on the feel of the air is less common, and more luxurious." I could not agree with you more. Both less common and all the more luxurious.

    Here's to magical catnaps for all.

  18. evocative.
    I have never been to San Francisco. It is on my list. Wait. Is it? I might have forgotten to add it.

    We are in our 3rd day of rain and cool temps. I am struggling to keep my spirits up.

    Your blog is a calm respite.

  19. It sounds like very beautiful days. At least the text is very.

  20. What a magical window you created. I also delighted at the way you placed your photo in time.

  21. I love not just the writing in this post, but all the complex feelings conveyed. it is a private pleasure to time-travel this way, have something about the dreamy feel of air awaken memories.

  22. Valerie, Some cities have this effect. I enjoyed a mostly grey February in Paris. I wasn't so smitten my first visit (a November...when I was younger), but the second visit (this year) left me quite charmed.

    gracia, Yes! "Here's to magical catnaps for all."

    Ramona, We have sun today. I hope you do too, and are able to capture some nice light in your photographs.

    Lecia, Oh, thank you.

    Anna Emilia, Sometimes the remembering is just as nice as the original occurence.

    Liz, Thank you.

    nancy, I like the way you see this sort of time-travel as a private pleasure. Beautiful.